There have always been groups – even within Christianity – that doubt the idea of a global flood. Futurists, Preterists, and many other “isms” have their own subgroups who believe that Genesis 6 – 9 decribes only a local flood. And, of course, many who have little or no confidence in the Bible consequently discount any notion of a global flood.
But there has been a growing group within Preterism who also believe this, claiming the Bible as sufficient evidence for their belief. Since I am also a Preterist I resent their equating of their local flood belief with basic Preterism. Not at all do this, thankfully, but the number who do are growing.
This article will show from the Bible why a global flood is the interpretation that fits best with Scripture.
First of all we can mention in passing a few well known defenses for the global flood:
1. If the flood was local Noah needn’t have gone through all the time and labor of building an ark. He could have just moved!
2. And, unless we are talking about animals who were only endemic to the allegedly local area of flooding, they needn’t have been specially preserved at all. Presumedly there were other animlas of the same type elsewhere.
3. It would be a fantastic defiance of the laws of physics to have a flood that would cover the highest mountains in the area and yet leave other lowlands not far away quite dry, the water on the earth beading up like a drop on a waxed car.
4. Aside from this, there are worldwide legends of a great flood. This would be hard to account for were there not some basis for it.
5. Belief in a worldwide flood has been, within Christendom, more accepted than not throughout history.
6. The Bible states it quite plainly. The burden of proof is on those who maintain otherwise.
Admittedly, no one of thse points constitute hard and fast evidence.
Looking more closely at number 6, I think we can mine this particular ground for some more persuasive proofs for a universal flood.
Why not Global?
It was a catchphrase a few years ago to “Think globally, act locally.” Well, this is what local flood advocates have God doing: fixing a global problem by a local solution.
The problem was sin. Gen. 6:5 – 7
“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
How far had this problem spread? Throughout all of God’s creation. Specifically including all of humanity – He “regretted that he had made man on the earth”, those he had “created from the face of the land”.
Now the Covenant Creation local flood advocates have a hard time creating a subgroup here. This is one reason, perhaps, why they require a covenant with Adam. So that a subset of humanity can be especially guilty so as to warrant their local doomsday.
But do you see the problem? If the flood is local then there are humans beyond the reach of the flood. Were they pure? Did God not care for them? Not create them? If he created them than He, at this point now regrets making them. This clearly shows that they also were the subjects, not only of God’s regret, but of His retribution.
“The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.
The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters.
And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered.
The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.
And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind.” Gen. 7:17-21
Much more can be said here, but lets just move on to God’s promise and sign, chapters 8 and 9 respectively.
“And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.” Gen. 8:21
The Lord promises not to destroy His creation as He had just done. Then in chapter 9 we read of a covenant – the first covenant God made, the first mention in the Bible of covenant. And we read of a sign of that covenant – the rainbow, Gen. 9:12 – 17
“And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:
I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,
I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Important Application: The Sign relates directly to the Cataclysm.
The assurance of the rainbow was to those whose land had been flooded. Otherwise this blessed promise would be meaningless. The rainbow was seen – is seen – wherever the flood had been. Thus, it was clearly a universal flood, since rainbows are throughout the Earth.
They are a promise of God that He would never again by flood “destroy all flesh” (9:15).
This is the Everlasting Covenant. Who are the parties? God and – not a subset of humanity, only, but – “every living creature of all flesh that is on the Earth”.
It seems silly that I would have to even type all this, but recent movements in Christianity (and Preterism) make such tasks necessary.